Brunei has seen opportunities in more niche markets – pharmaceuticals and cosmetics in the halal sector. Muslimsaccountforclosetoaquarteroftheglobal population and have been major drivers of the halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics market. Global pharmaceutical revenues are expected to be worth USD1.12 trillion by 2022 and USD445 billion for the cosmetics industry.
The reason halal medicines and cosmetics are gain- ing traction globally is that they are fully compliant with faith and readily accepted under religious laws. They are also stringently assessed for qual- ity and certification before being released into the market, and made mostly using herbal and synthetic materials.
As one of the first nations to establish halal pharma- ceutical guidelines in the world, and with no unified set of regulations, companies based in Brunei or intending to set up shop there have the benefit of a widely regarded and well respected halal certifica- tion label across all their products.
Simpor Pharma Sdn Bhd is the first Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant, state-of- the-art pharmaceutical products and health supple- ments manufacturer in Brunei. It is a BND26 million joint venture between Canadian Viva Pharmaceutical Inc, private equity fund Aureous (Brunei) Capital Sdn Bhd and a group of local investors.
The world’s first halal pharmaceutical company has a 100,000-square feet manufacturing facility situated on a 7.5-acre plot within the Salambigar Industrial Site. The plant is custom-designed and built to meet FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) pharmaceutical requirements by design, materials of construction, utilities including purified water, drains, electrical and lighting systems.
Simpor’s comprehensive products range from soft- gels, tablets, hard shell capsules and powder and granules to liquids, creams and gels. It also has natural health products that consist of herbal med- icines, vitamin-mineral supports, food supplements and organic/dietary preferences.
Sengenics, a genomics and proteomics-based research and diagnostics company opened its new DNA sequencing and microarray facility in Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) in 2015.
Sengenics’ Brunei-based facility focuses on two core activities. Firstly, the company offers commer- cial services leveraging its patented autoantibody profiling platform and the clinical genomics diagno- sis pipeline.
Secondly, in collaboration with UBD and supported by the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) through the Brunei Research Incentive Scheme (BRISc), Sengenics will embark upon two novel halal meat and food related research and commercialisa- tion projects.
In April 2017, the new Sengenics Immunome Production Facility was opened in UBD. The new state of the art facility offers protein cloning and expression services using the patented BCCP (Biotin Carboxyl Carrier Protein) folding marker technology.
This will support the commercially available flag- ship technology that is offered by Sengenics, the Immunome Protein Array Platform, which is used for a variety of pharmaceutical screening and drug discovery applications.
Sinar Suria Bio Centre is the first commercial bio- technology facility at the Bio-Innovation Corridor, an industrial park geared to attract halal and bio-industry related investments.
The BND20 million bioproduction facility launched in 2016 cultivates microalgae for the extraction of a key ingredient for health beverages, healthcare sup- plements and cosmetic products. The facility is run by MC Biotech, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation and Nissui.
MC Biotech Executive Director Yuki Kaneda said MC Biotech Sdn Bhd was formed as a result of putting forth a proposal of cultivating Astaxanthin-producing microalgae in Brunei.
A collaborative research effort was carried out with the government during which MC Biotech was able to successfully cultivate the microalgae and extract Astaxanthin. Based on the results, there is a promising future to develop the cultivation of microalgae and related-biotechnological industries due to Brunei’s naturally purer air and water, and cleaner environment which positively affects the growth of the microalgae.
MC Biotech also announced that they would be tran- sitioning to the commercial phase in the DARe Bio Innovation Corridor.
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